I'm not that guy. I just tend to ask questions. Everyone and their neighbor is all over the Kony 2012 initiative sponsored by the Invisible Children organization. A Vimeo video explaining the movement now has more than 10 million views. In 2007, Echo Church hosted an Invisible Children presentation. The organization made a film highlighting the abhorrent actions of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. The LRA would kidnap children in order to train them to be soldiers. It spawned a social active movement, primarily with the funding of safe schools, that contributed to positive change in the country.
The Kony 2012 movement is an effort to attack the issue at the head. Joseph Kony is a warlord of the LRA. The movement is designed to further expose these atrocities with the hope of bringing him to justice. Currently, the U.S. deployed a small group of soldiers to provide training and support for Ugandan military personnel to combat the LRA. With this support possibly expiring, the Invisible Children group wants to keep Kony in the forefront of people's minds to encourage his arrest.
Upon watching the video, I was puzzled at how quickly people have embraced this movement. Two observations that I'd ask you to consider.
First, a basic understanding of the political climate of many nations on the African continent reveals that an operation to stop Kony will not end in arrest; it will consist of a militaristic pursuit that will ultimately end in his killing. Even though the movement organizers claim they seek justice got Kony, the only justice true justice to emerge will be his bloodshed. He will not be taken alive.
From a political perspective, this is not problematic. But when invoking this as a justice issue, it numerous questions. The foremost: is it truly social justice to seek the death of an oppressor? In fact, it illustrates the delicate line between justice and political action. Even though the movement's organizers are aiming for political correctness when pleading for his arrest, it is a misguided goal. There is no other end game but his death. It is not necessarily wrong (from a biblical, retributive perspective) for his life to be take for his evil actions, but should this be the role that a non-profit takes?
Second, and this is a pragmatic argument, organizations like the LRA are rarely led by just one individual. When Kony is dead, his lieutenants will rise to take his place, perhaps even hardened to act even more ruthlessly. Violence begets violence. I'm not staking a pacifist position here but am stating a fact that has continued to ravage the African continent for decades: imperialism helped create this violent culture. By no means should we affirm the LRA's actions, but there is similar tragedy occurring around the globe even at this moment. Why, then, should we stop with Uganda? What about issues in Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea? Should we mobilize to bring attention to those atrocities as well?
In short, even though people are suffering, the solvent is political, not social justice. Innocents in the crossfire are suffering, but this is a horrible fact not limited to any certain geographic region. It is fine to raise awareness, but to outline a course of action is to assume a political, nationalistic agenda that transcends mere justice.
I apologize that I haven't fully teased this out, but I felt like I needed to get this out. You might even be offended that I dare to question this movement. But in our era of social media, we tend to make immediate judgements on issues without truly contemplating the facts. I believe that the Invisible Children organization is well-intentioned here but naive in what they're truly imploring people to do.
If you do support the movement, that's fine. But I'd ask that you consider the end game. And then decide whom to attack next.